Fiction, science and the public

This research theme investigates the intersections between fiction, science and the public, where 'fiction' includes fictional stories told through film, television, radio, theatre, novels, short stories, comics and computer games.

Since the time that Mary Shelley first published the story of the monster that plagued her dreams, many creatives have imagined worlds of scientific advancements.

From tremendous wars across galaxies to robots with feelings, the representation of science in fiction has the power to inspire or caution against the developments and technologies in the modern (and future) world.

Our research investigates: 

  • How does fiction influence public attitudes to scientists or science-related controversies?
  • How do people respond to the science they encounter in fiction?
  • How can fiction be used in the classroom to teach science?
  • How are the social, political, cultural or economic aspects of science represented through
  • fiction?
  • How can narrative structures increase a message’s persuasiveness or interest to particular
  • audiences?
  • How can we best read fiction as a public response to science or technology?

Relevant CPAS courses are:



Students also undertake research in this theme for undergraduate coursework, postgraduate coursework and higher degrees by research.

Contact theme convenor Brad Tucker for more information or click on the other tabs to find relevant people, projects, news and events.


Project Status
Audience responses to fictional representations of future technology Completed
Communicating science through children’s literature Completed
Discourses of race and evolutionary theory in the X-Men series of films Completed
Doctor Who characters as STEMM role models Completed
Engaged in fiction, engaged in science: Can stories about science inspire a career? Completed
Enlightenment was the choice: 'Doctor Who' and the democratisation of science Completed
Facts in fiction: Categorising science in narratives Completed
Fictional portrayals of real scientists in semi-biographical films Completed
How the sitcom The Big Bang Theory influences audience perceptions of science and scientists Completed
Ideologies of science in 'Doctor Who' Completed
Making sense of the geology of Middle-earth in Lord of the Rings Completed
Models of Time Travel: a comparative study using film Completed
Portrayals of science and the environment in the computer game 'Civilization 5' Completed
Representations of scientists in kids' programs on Australian television Completed
Science and 'Breaking Bad' Completed
Science plays as science communication: a case study of Caryl Churchill's 'A Number' Completed
SCOM2003 projects about science, fiction and the public Completed
The influence of 'Scrubs' on medical students' clinical practice Completed
The influence of the musical Rent on the HIV/AIDS campaign in the US in the years 1996-2011 Completed
The roles of scientific jargon in science-themed fiction Completed
Uses of Jurassic Park in popular science books Completed